Dangerous Water

Dangerous Water

A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain

Book - 1999
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Baker & Taylor
Describes how the author's personality and literary works were shaped by a Hannibal, Missouri childhood that included violence, the culture of slavery, and fierce religion.

Perseus Publishing
While Mark Twain remains one of our most quintessentially American writers, the actual boyhood experiences that fueled his most enduring literature remained largely unexplored—until now. Twain's early years were a decidedly un-innocent time, marked by deaths of friends and family and his father's bankruptcy. Twain dealt with those personal tragedies through humor and the tall tale. From the time that a ten-year-old Samuel Clemens lit out on his own and boarded his first Mississippi steamer to his first encounter with a traveling "mesmerizer" (which ignited his lifelong penchant for acting and spectacle), from the brooding sense of guilt and fear of eternal damnation inculcated into him at church to the superstitions and stories of witchcraft he learned from the blacks on his farm, Powers unforgettably shows how Mark Twain was shaped by the distinctly American landscape, culture, and people of Hannibal, Missouri. Jay Parini, the celebrated biographer of Robert Frost, called Dangerous Water "a long-needed evocation of the boyhood of the man who invented boyhood for all time. . . . An immensely shrewd and deeply engaging book, a great gift to all of us who love Twain."

First time in paperback: From a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, an imaginative re-creation of Samuel Clemens's boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri-just in time for Ken Burns's forthcoming Mark Twain documentary.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c1999
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780306810862
Characteristics: vii, 328 p. ; 22 cm


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